Friday, July 30, 2010

Iao Valley shoot with Shawna

On the last Sunday before I headed up to Tokyo, we did a location shoot with model Shawna.  Assisting us again were Ronald and Quddus.

We had originally planned to shoot in the Olinda forest upcountry, but due to the weather, we ended up changing locations to Kepaniwai Park in Iao Valley.  This actually wound up being better because it gave us several different looks in the same location.

Kahulani did an excellent job with the makeup as always.  Kat added little gemstones to Shawna's face and hair as we were going for a fairy in the forest kind of look.

For these first couple of shots, I had the camera on tripod, shooting with a slow shutter speed to blur the water.  One thing I need to remember when doing a slow shutter speed shot is to make sure the model is in a pose that she can comfortably hold still for the amount of time it takes to make the exposure.

It was really nice having Kat on location with us.  Not only was she able to touch up Shawna's makeup when needed, she also helped out in choosing spots to shoot in.

For example, Kat visualized this shot of Shawna on the rock with the misty mountains in the background.

In order to get the angle I wanted for this shot, I had to position myself really low.

Here I started off with the Canon 5D and 70-200mm L lens on a tripod (can't afford the IS version of this lens yet), but couldn't get it low enough.  So I ended up tossing the sticks and lying down on my back in the waterfall with the camera and lens on my chest.  Not something I'd recommend doing very often, but sometimes "ya gotta do what ya gotta do" to get the shot.

We used an AB800 powered with a Vagabond battery pack (finally back from repair) with a long throw reflector to fill in the shadows from across the waterfall.  (In the BTS shot above, Shawna and the rock are just out of the frame to the left and the AB800 setup is just out of the frame to the right behind Quddus.)

By the time we started shooting in Iao Valley, it was quite overcast and we were starting to lose the light.  I wanted to do a shot that looked like early morning, with the sunlight streaming through the trees, so we used two Nikon SB26s triggered with Pocket Wizards, and a California Sunbounce micro mini reflector to simulate the sunlight.

One of the nearby trails in Iao Valley goes through a grove of bamboo trees.  We picked this spot to setup our shot.

Because the sun was hidden behind the clouds, there was not much light to reflect.  For Shawna's main light we mounted one of the SB26s onto the frame of the Sunbounce and aimed it into the silver side of the reflector.  The extreme lightweight construction of the Sunbounce made it easy for Quddus to hold the reflector up above Shawna and position it as her main light.

We setup the other SB26 on a lightstand and positioned it behind and off to the side so that it would come through the bamboo leaves.

Usually I try to avoid lens flares, but in this case, it kinda looked cool, so we just rolled with it.

For the fairy shot, I wanted to appear as if fireflies and rays of sunlight were lighting the scene.  Once we picked out the spot for it, I had Ronald give Shawna an SB26 with a Pocket Wizard ball bungied to it to make it easier for her to hold in her hand.  The SB 26 is modified with a Stofen omnibounce.  To help flag off the light from flaring into the camera lens, we inserted a small piece of cinefoil (black tinfoil) into the omnibounce, on the side that faced the camera.

We had to play around with the power levels on the SB26 a bit so I'm not sure what we finally ended up at, but the idea was to have it slightly overpower the ambient light so that we had the light direction coming from her hand.

Later in Photoshop, we erased the flash. Since the flash body is mostly black, it blended into the background pretty well.  Added some fireflies, wings, and a few rays of light to get to the final image.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More studio lighting work with Uilani

Had the chance to work with model Uilani again in Maui a few weekends ago before I flew up to Japan.

Makeup and hair was done by Kahulani.  We were assisted by Ronald and Quddus.

For lighting, we used basically the same setup as last time, with two AB 800s lighting the white wall and an AB800 in a large softbox for the main light.  To even out the lighting on the background, we used a white shoot thru umbrella modifier on both rear lights.

Uilani had a lot of different outfits and props to use this time, courtesy of Isle Empress.

except for the guns, of course. ;-)

One thing that was a little different this time was that we ended up having a group shoot, since pretty much everyone present had a camera and we had enough Pocket Wizards to go around.  A lot of my frames ended up dark because the poor Alien Bees were getting a workout. ;-)  But the  great thing was that everyone had the chance to get some shots and Uilani had a lot of images to select from.